PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe does everything its Playstation 3 equivalent does, and more.
By using resources to build and power-up a range of towers, you are tasked with holding off a range of different Monsters from invading your camp. Each tower has different properties specific to the type of enemy you are taking down. As such PixelJunk Monsters is a combination of puzzle, real-time-strategy and RPG gameplay.
There's something about PixelJunk Monsters that keeps it compelling as you enter the third hour of consecutive play. Perhaps it's the variety in the gameplay, perhaps it's the game's challenging but never frustrating learning curve, or perhaps it's just plain addictive. With so much variety to, what is essentially a simple concept, PixelJunk Monsters is a game that can make time pass without you knowing it. That's why it's such a perfect fit for the PSP. With Monsters in your pocket, being bored on long trips is a thing of the past. Unless the PSP's battery dies, of course.
You'd think concessions might have been made to get PixelJunk Monsters running on the PSP. You'd be wrong. The whole experience carries forward beautifully, with rich colours and detailed character models. The game literally pops on the PSP's excellent screen. It's a game that will have strangers looking over from the other sides of the train.
To put it plainly: building the ultimate defence in PixelJunk Monsters makes you feel bad-ass. When you're dripping with cash and resources, setting up your dream barrage of cannons, machine guns and lasers is super satisfying. It's simply a joy concocting a strategy and then watching it play out in real-time.
Perfecting some of the harder levels provides replay value in itself. Before long you'll be taking notes on the angles from which enemies enter and the ways in which you should use your resources. And that's cool because while it's challenging, it's never in a way that's frustrating. Completing levels is simple enough, but perfecting them so you don't lose any members of your camp is a real challenge that will have you repeating stages over and over in the search of getting a perfect clearance.
The Playstation 3 version of PixelJunk Monsters was great, but as the name suggests, Deluxe gives you more. Alongside the entirety of the PS3 game, you'll also get new levels, new weapons, enemies, towers, concept art, etc. So in other words, if you haven't already got PixelJunk Monsters, this is the one to get.
Despite us repeatedly billing Monsters as the perfect pick-up & play title, it's worth noting that some of the later levels can evaporate anywhere from 15-20 minutes of your time. Enough to fill a train journey, but perhaps a little too long for a trip to the toilet.
We get what Otograph are trying to do with the PixelJunk music but sadly it's all a bit too avant-garde for our tastes. The range of bleeping serves as good ambience, but is generally rather annoying. Although, we suppose a looping melody could have been much worse.
Creating towers is still done via a "Wheel" menu that lets you spin to the type of weapon you'd like to create. Sadly, like the PS3 version, this still feels pressured in cumbersome situations. We'd have liked to have seen this element of the game tweaked for Monsters Deluxe. It's not game-breaking or anything, more a minor irritation.
PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe features a complete co-op multiplayer mode that we'll cover in more detail when we've tested it in a retail environment.
PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe is not only the definitive version of an already hugely popular game, it's also the first game to really epitomise what Sony's new PSP Go stands for: quick, accessible content that can be enjoyed over prolonged sessions or short bursts. Essential.